2015 WINNERS

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE AWARDS

BEST DOCUMENTARY

WHO IS DAYANI CRISTAL?
Director: Marc Silver
2013 | UK | Mexico
85 min

The body of an unidentified immigrant is found in the Arizona Desert. In an attempt to retrace his path and discover his story, director Marc Silver and Gael Garcia Bernal embed themselves among migrant travelers on their own mission to cross the border, providing rare insight into the human stories which are so often ignored in the immigration debate.


 

BEST DIRECTOR

#CHICAGOGIRL – The Social Network Takes On A Dictator
Director: Joe Piscatella
2013 | USA | Syria
74 min

From her childhood bedroom in the Chicago suburbs, an American teenage girl uses social media to coordinate the revolution in Syria. Armed with Facebook, Twitter, Skype and camera phones, she helps her social network “on the ground” in Syria to show the world the human rights atrocities of a dictator. But just because the world can see the violence doesn’t mean the world can help. As the revolution rages on, everyone in the network must decide what is the most effective way to fight a dictator: social media or AK-47s.


 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY & BEST EDITING

MALA MALA
Director: Dan Sickles
2014 | Puerto Rico
89 min

In a celebration of the trans community in Puerto Rico, the fissure between internal and external is an ever-present battle. A unique exploration of self-discovery and activism, featuring a diverse collection of subjects that include LGBTQ advocates, business owners, sex workers, and a boisterous group of drag performers who call themselves The Doll House, Mala Mala portrays a fight for personal and community acceptance paved with triumphant highs and devastating lows. Through riveting cinematography that encapsulates the candy-colored, vivacious personalities as well as their frequently dark personal experiences, directors Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles dynamically present the passion and hardships reflective of this distinctively binary human experience.


 

BEST SOUND EDITING

I AM HAITI
Director: Raúl de la Fuente
2014 | Spain | Haiti
66 min

In Haiti, the ancestors say if something is foretold, it will happen no matter how, and nobody can change that. Artist Celeur is inspired by his Voodoo culture to create his sculptures, a reflection of the complex reality of the Caribbean country. The thoughts of the sculptor are framing the lives of Oriental, a waif youngster and Marah, who had to live by herself as a street kid in Port-au-Prince. A portrait of Haiti, and a vindication of the African roots of the country


 DOCUMENTARY SHORT AWARDS

 

BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY & BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY & STUDENT CHOICE AWARD (NEW ROADS, LOS ANGELES)

NOT ANYMORE: A STORY OF REVOLUTION
Director: Matthew VanDyke
2013 | USA | Syria
14 min

The story of the Syrian revolution as told through the experiences of two young Syrians, a male rebel fighter and a female journalist, as they fight an oppressive regime for the freedom of their people.


 

BEST DIRECTOR & BEST SOUND EDITING

NOISE RUNS
Directors: Ashley Panzera and Kim Borba
2014 | USA | Haiti
18 min

In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, failed reconstruction has pushed social unrest to the breaking point. Protests erupt in the streets, and armed UN soldiers stalk the angry crowds. But a group of young Haitians, driven by their passion for a new Haiti, is sparking social change. To democratize information and offer hope to the population, they produce a radical newspaper, Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye (Noise Travels, News Spreads).


 

BEST EDITING

FORCED: Child Labour and Exploitation
Director: Pep Bonet
2014 | Bangladesh | Spain
24 min

FORCED sets out to capture the complexity and prolific occurrence of child labour and exploitation in Bangladesh. This film takes you into the streets of Dhaka, where children form part of the visual landscape: an integrated part of the work force, they work because society accepts their fate and survival dictates their limited choices. In the underworld of the brothels, behind closed doors, girls share their testimonies of having to work as sex slaves, bought and sold by brokers, shamed by society, with no escape.


IMPACT VIDEO AWARD

 

HUMANITAS AWARD

VITAL VOICES: TEP VANNY
Director: Aaron Kisner
2013 | Cambodia
3 min

Anyone who has worked in a developing country in the last decade will have heard a similar story. Developers seize a valuable piece of land, throw the existing community out, and after protests ebb away, a new development arises: apartments, a mall, restaurants and stores for the newly wealthy. The people of Boeung Kak Lake, in Cambodia, have tried to rewrite the script. With Tep Vanny, a dedicated and energetic young woman, as one of their spokespeople, they challenged the developer and the Cambodian government, and they have refused to go quietly. Here, Tep Vanny offers an intimate perspective of her fight.


JURY PRIZES – DOCUMENTARY CATEGORY

 

TRANSPARENCY (SPONSORED BY VENA CAVA)

POVERTY, INC.
Director: Michael Matheson Miller
2014 | USA (shot in 20 countries)
90 min

The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of development, giving rise to a vast multi-billion dollar poverty industry. Yet the results have been mixed, in some cases even catastrophic, and leaders in the developing world are growing increasingly vocal in calling for change. Drawing from over 200 interviews filmed in 20 countries, Poverty, Inc. unearths an uncomfortable side of charity we can no longer ignore. From TOMs Shoes to international adoptions, from solar panels to U.S. agricultural subsidies, the film challenges each of us to ask the tough question: Could I be part of the problem?


 

STYLISTIC ACHIEVEMENT (SPONSORED BY G-TECHNOLOGY)

FORCED: Child Labour and Exploitation
Director: Pep Bonet
2014 | Bangladesh | Spain
24 min

FORCED sets out to capture the complexity and prolific occurrence of child labour and exploitation in Bangladesh. This film takes you into the streets of Dhaka, where children form part of the visual landscape: an integrated part of the work force, they work because society accepts their fate and survival dictates their limited choices. In the underworld of the brothels, behind closed doors, girls share their testimonies of having to work as sex slaves, bought and sold by brokers, shamed by society, with no escape.


 

LENS TO ACTION (SPONSORED BY VENA CAVA)

VESSEL
Director: Diana Whitten
2014 | USA | Netherlands
88 min

Rebecca Gomperts sails a ship around the world, providing abortions at sea for women with no legal alternative. Her idea begins as flawed spectacle, faced with governmental, religious, and military blockade. But with each setback comes a refined mission, until Rebecca realizes she can use technology to bypass law – and train women to give themselves abortions using WHO-researched pills. From there she creates an underground network of emboldened activists who trust women to handle abortion themselves. Vessel is Rebecca’s story: of a woman who hears and answers a calling, and transforms a wildly improbable idea into a global movement.


 

ETHOS (SPONSORED BY VENA CAVA)

FROM THE SAME SOIL
Director: Nicky Newman
2014 | South Africa
28 min

The film portrays the lives of two gay men and one transgender woman who left their home countries because of discrimination and persecution. Now in South Africa they applied for refugee status on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite the fact that in South Africa both national laws and international human rights laws protects lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals against any form of discrimination. Flavina, Mussa and Junior have encountered several challenges in their new communities. The film is an emotional personal journey that shows how stigmatisation, persecution and violence have turned the protagonists into human rights activists.


JURY PRIZES – IMPACT VIDEO CATEGORY

 

INNOVATION (SPONSORED BY VENA CAVA)

ENEMIES TO ALLIES
Director: Julie Winokur
2014 | USA | Kenya
14 min

Sometimes, innovative solutions to social challenges are born in the most unlikely places. In Kisumu, Kenya a surprising approach to HIV prevention relies on building bonds two unlikely groups: police officers and sex workers. In Kisumu, extortion and abuse were commonplace, and sex workers’ rights were violated. This resulted in sex workers not receiving essential health services and police officers contributing to the spread of HIV.


 

IMPACT (SPONSORED BY VENA CAVA)

GOLD OF AGRICULTURE
Directors: David Aguacheiro and Tina Krüger
2013 | Mozambique
15 min

Gold of agriculture is a documentary shot in the suburbs of Mozambique´s capital city Maputo. In the film, several beneficiaries of WaterAid´s project, Kubabasisa Muganga, funded by European Union (2011-2015), share their experiences. Covering all aspects of their experiences, the film starts off with stories of how they first perceived the project up until the implementation of the the gold on their farms. We follow stories that tell us about challenges, but above all, about the huge advantages the project brought to the farmers in the suburbs of Luis Cabral, Inhagoia A, Inhagoia B and Costa do Sol.


SPECIAL MENTIONS – DOCUMENTARY FEATURE CATEGORY

 

BORDERS
Director: Jacqueline van Vugt
2013 | Netherlands
87 min

Border by border, the film follows the route from Nigeria to The Netherlands, a route taken by many immigrants. The subsequent Borders are the protagonists; Nigeria-Niger-Burkina Faso-Mali-Senegal-Mauretania-Morocco-Spain-France-Belgium-The Netherlands. The Borders change; the people, the light, the colors, the temperature, the use of technical instrument, but the influence of power is always present.


FOOD CHAINS

Director: Sanjay Rawal
2014 | USA
82 min

There is more interest in food these days than ever, yet there is very little interest in the hands that pick it. Food Chains reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of the supermarket industry. The narrative of the film focuses on an intrepid and highly lauded group of tomato pickers from Southern Florida – the Coalition of Immokalee Workers or CIW – who are revolutionizing farm labor. Their story is one of hope and promise for the triumph of morality over corporate greed – to ensure a dignified life for farm workers and a more humane, transparent food chain.


THE STARFISH THROWERS
Director: Jesse Roesler
2014 | USA
83 min

Worlds apart, a five-star chef, a twelve year-old girl, and a retired school teacher discover how their individual efforts to feed the poor ignite a movement in the fight against hunger. This documentary tells tale of these remarkable individuals and the unexpected challenges they face. Despite being constantly reminded that hunger is far too big for one person to solve, they persevere and see their impact ripple further than their individual actions.


SPECIAL MENTIONS – DOCUMENTARY SHORT CATEGORY

 

CAN’T HIDE ME

Director: Madhuri Mohindar
2014 | India
26 min

Women and girls are often put down, silently, subtly. Bound by invisible chains in their homes, on the streets, in schools and public spaces. Always maintaining a low profile, always crushing their dreams. Is it possible for them to fight back? And what happens when they find the courage to do so? Parvati, Mallika and Heena haven’t met each other but they share more in common than you would think. For they are amongst those women who are taking extraordinary steps to reclaim the spaces that are rightfully theirs, fighting the often invisible barriers that keep women from freedom.


 

CAST IN INDIA

Director: Natasha Raheja
2014 | USA | India
26 min

Iconic and ubiquitous, thousands of manhole covers dot the streets of New York City. Enlivening the everyday objects around us, this short film is a glimpse of the working lives of the men behind the manhole covers in New York City.


 

SILENT RIVER
Directors: Jason Jaacks and Steve Fisher
2014 | Mexico

The Santiago River flows along the outskirts of Guadalajara, Mexico. For forty years, waste from one of Mexico’s largest manufacturing corridors has been dumped into the Santiago. 80% of the companies in the corridor – brands like IBM, HP, Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Honda and Nestlé – are American and Japanese. The river has been transformed into a sewer with over 1000 known chemicals, including dangerously high levels of arsenic, chrome, and lead. Silent River follows a young woman and her family as they defy death threats to try and save the one of the most polluted rivers in Mexico.


SPECIAL MENTION – IMPACT VIDEO CATEGORY

 

SCALING THE MOUNTAIN: PROTECTING FORESTS FOR FAMILIES IN NEPAL

Director: Michael T. Miller
2014 | Nepal | USA
10 min

In the foothills of Nepal, extreme deforestation has pushed many rural communities onto marginal lands. In Scaling the Mountain, villagers in Jogimara and Naubise find that combining conservation efforts with reproductive health services helps them support their families and their communities more sustainably.